It’s that wonderful time of year again when the evenings are getting longer, the days are getting warmer, and there’s a great sense of optimism… we live in hope of a warm, dry summer!
Spring is a time of new beginnings, and a great time to try and make changes to your financial routine as well as our personal one. So, while you’re spring cleaning your house and your wardrobe why not take the time to do the same with your finances. I’m not talking about setting up a new investment plan or pension, it’s about managing your finances so that you can enjoy the little luxuries you deserve.
10 easy tips on how to Spring Clean your Finances.
- Re-evaluate your Budget – take the time to look at your spending over the last few months. Has anything changed? Have you accrued more debt than usual or have you over spent? Get rid of the things you’re paying for but don’t use such as that gym membership, magazine subscriptions, Online movies, etc. https://www.ccpc.ie/consumers/tools-and-calculators/
- Change your spending habits – Most spending happens out of routine, you go shopping every Thursday night, you meet friends for coffee Saturday morning. If you look at your spending habits, you’ll begin to see patterns. Now’s a good time to target at least one of those patterns and change it. https://www.ccpc.ie/consumers/tools-and-calculators/
- Sort out your paperwork – take a couple of hours to go through old bills, receipts and paperwork and shred what you no longer need.
- Pay with cash instead of card – instead of always paying by card decide to pay for one expenditure such as groceries, lunch, entertainment, or clothing with cash. This will allow you to manage your discretionary spending.
- Put extra savings into a personal pension. You get 20% tax relief from government on the basic rate or 40% if you’re in the higher tax bracket; even an extra 1% of salary can make all the difference.
- Catch up on late payments & reduce your debts– If you have fallen behind in a payment or have a debt accrued, now is the time to try to clear at least one of these. By reducing your spend elsewhere you can increase your payments, reducing your debt sooner and stop accruing further interest.
- Top up your emergency fund – it’s good to have an emergency fund in place to cover those financial surprises. An emergency fund of 3-6 month’s pay should be to goal to cover your living expenses should you need it. Start small and build it up.
- Get a better rate – Compare the fees and benefits of current, savings and deposit accounts, credit cards, mortgages, etc across a range of providers https://www.ccpc.ie/consumers/financial-comparisons/
- Reduce your utility bills – are you getting the best rates for your broadband, phone & TV bundles, gas & electricity, etc. Compare prices and deals for various providers – https://www.bonkers.ie/
- Time for a Financial Checkup – If you haven’t had a financial check-up in the last 12 months call your financial adviser and review your existing investments and policies.
By checking your finances twice a year in Spring and again in Autumn you can keep on top of your spending and concentrate on other important matters for the rest of the year.